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Society & Culture

This Filipino American Life

Updated 1 day ago

Society & Culture
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A podcast that explores the nuanced experiences of Filipinos in the United States, atbp.

Read more

A podcast that explores the nuanced experiences of Filipinos in the United States, atbp.

iTunes Ratings

240 Ratings
Average Ratings
222
8
7
0
3

Flipmode squad

By chris from bmore - Jan 24 2019
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interview Pacquiao pleeeeease

Love you guys!

By Toni Geurts - Jan 09 2019
Read more
Thanks for all the great conversations and education around these experiences and stories. 🧡

iTunes Ratings

240 Ratings
Average Ratings
222
8
7
0
3

Flipmode squad

By chris from bmore - Jan 24 2019
Read more
interview Pacquiao pleeeeease

Love you guys!

By Toni Geurts - Jan 09 2019
Read more
Thanks for all the great conversations and education around these experiences and stories. 🧡
Cover image of This Filipino American Life

This Filipino American Life

Updated 1 day ago

Read more

A podcast that explores the nuanced experiences of Filipinos in the United States, atbp.

Rank #1: Episode 25 – Filipino Americans and Panethnic Identity

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As a Filipino, do you identify as an Asian American?  Do you feel more affinity towards Mexican Americans and other Latinos?  Do you believe Filipinos are Pacific Islanders?  Do Filipino Americans belong to a specific “race”?

These are some questions Filipino Americans grapple with all the time.  Living in the United States, “Asian,” “Pacific Islander,” or even “Latino” is thrust upon Filipinos.   Filipino Americans, in numerous ways, do not fit these arbitrary racial and/or panethnic categories, yet many of us have the arduous task of choosing which one we belong to.

In this TFAL episode, we explore the ways in which these arbitrary panethnic categorizations are unfair to Filipinos, how they fail to encapsulate our lived experiences, and how they elide so much of our political realities in the United States.  We speak with Dr. Anthony Ocampo, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and author of the renowned book The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race.

Listen as Anthony talks about Filipino Americans ambiguous belonging to Asian America and what Filipinos need to do to advance from our marginalized position under the Asian American category and in the United States at large.  Later, we have a great conversation about his future book project on the experiences of LGTBQ persons of color.  Also, we find out what race Ryan really is!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

How do you identify?  Do you believe Filipino American are Asian or any other category?  Drop us a line on our voicemail, (805) 394-TFAL (8325)!

Jun 19 2018
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Rank #2: Episode 5.5 – On Filipino Accents

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Is mimicking Filipino accents an offensive act?  Do Fil Ams make fun of immigrants because they attempt to be American?  Is it OK when non-Filipinos imitate the accent?  When is it “all in good fun”?

We understand the propensity of mimicking Filipino accents by many Filipino Americans stems largely from their class and cultural privilege in the United States, but can it possibly come from anything else?  Of course, we don’t have all of the answers, but we get a dialogue going here in this mini-episode.  Have a listen!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Nov 17 2016
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Rank #3: Episode 88 – Colorism in the Filipino Community

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Don’t play out in the sun.  You’ll get too dark!”

Most Filipinos have heard this phrase from parents or elders numerous times when they were children.  For Filipino Americans, this phrase might strike a chord as an example of Filipinos’ preference for lighter skin.  For some, it may conjure up memories of being bullied, traumatized, and socially excluded for having darker skin.  For others, the phrase may simply be a reminder of how to maintain a certain privilege for having lighter skin.  Regardless of one’s memory of that phrase, skin tone has unfortunately shaped all of our lives.

Colorism, the prejudice and discrimination based on skin tone, is a centuries-old practice of class stratification in many societies.  In the Philippines, light-skinned folks have a tremendous amount of social privilege compared to those who are dark-skinned.  Filipino celebrities, for example, go to great lengths to maintain the light-skin tone in contradistinction to their largely dark-skinned audience.  As such, colorism has fueled a multi-billion dollar world-wide industry based on skin-lightening products.  But where and how did it originate?

Colorism predates European colonialism and has been prevalent in many complex societies all over the world where field and domestic labor under the sun is not valued highly.  The practice of binukot among the Panay Bukidnon, for example, where young women were shielded from the sun in order to attract higher suitors, predates Spanish arrival in the Philippines. Nonetheless, three centuries of colonialism has solidified and exacerbated colorism in Philippine society.  Colorism is a sad reality and it affects many people, including Filipino Americans.

However, folks like Asia Jackson and her #MagandangMorenx movement and the backlash from colorist ad campaigns from skin lightening products have made inroads into trying to change the cultural perception that light-skinned is better.  Many Filipino and Filipino Americans have been slowly changing the discourse around skin tone with phrases like “Brown is Beautiful” and owning the term, kayumanggi.  It’s an uphill, yet necessary battle.

Joanne Rondilla, SJSU Professor

In this episode, we talk about our experiences with colorism and where we’ve seen it manifest.  Then, we speak to Joanne Rondilla, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San Jose State University, who has done extensive research on colorism in the Philippines and in the United States.  Listen as she discusses the history of colorism in Philippine society, the “secret” of the skin-lightening industry, the limitations of “colonial mentality” as the sole explanation for colorism, and suggestions on how to deal with colorism in your family.  It was a tremendous privilege to have Joanne on TFAL and we hope you enjoy the episode as much as we did.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

What are you experiences with colorism?  Do people tell you that you’re “too dark.” Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Finally, a special shout out to our TPALs who emailed us some of their comments and questions.  Here’s a picture of TPAL, Toni Geurts, and her beautiful mother:

Jul 03 2019
1 hour 25 mins
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Rank #4: Episode 5 – Back to School: Filipinos in Higher Education

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Back to School: Filipinos & Higher Education. A conversation about Pilipino Studies w/Ivy Dulay Daulo & Kevin Casasola. On this episode we share our personal college experiences and the role of Pilipino Studies and Asian American Studies has played in our lives. Special thanks to Ivy Dulay Daulo for sharing about her experiences as an instructor at California State University Long Beach and to Kevin Casasola for sharing about his experiences as a student at University of California, Los Angeles.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Side note: Color Your Troubles Away has been rescheduled since we recorded this show. It is scheduled for Thursday, October 20th, 7-9pm at POT Lobby Bar at The Line Hotel in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

Oct 17 2016
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Rank #5: Episode 16 – The World Is Just A Bridge. Gaming and Dungeons & Dragons

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On this episode of This Filipino American Life the TFAL crew talks about video games and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). We talk about who used video games as an escape, who did not really play as much as a kid, and who thought video games reinforced Eurocentric mythology.

While we start the conversation around video games, the conversation pivots to Dungeons and Dragons when we talk to our guests Earl Baylon (Elaine’s semi-cousin, Jonah Maiava from the Tomb Raider series, and Artistic Director of Room to Improv) and Edren Sumagaysay (writer, The Park’s Finest expediter, and Dungeon Master extraordinaire). Earl and Edren go into how they got into Dungeons and Dragons and explain to the TFAL crew how D&D works. We even begin to brainstorm a Filipino American D&D campaign!

What are your thoughts about gaming and D&D? What were/are your favorite video games? If you played D&D what character would you play as? Orc? Rogue? Wizard? Would you play a Filipino American D&D campaign if we put one out? Let us know! Tweet at us @TFALpodcast. Email us thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com. Leave us a voicemail 805-394-TFAL.

This episode is brought to you by Brown Baked Homemade Desserts. Thank you to Jason Lustina for providing TFAL with delicious cookies while we recorded this episode! Want more cookies and waffles and other delicious Filipino Food treats? Follow Brown Baked in Facebook and Instagram

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Sep 11 2017
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Rank #6: Episode 26.5 – Filipino American Weddings

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(Photo Credit: In The Clouds Events)

The union of two people is a very momentous occasion and the catalyst for much celebration throughout human history.  Weddings signify many things from the love of two people, the alliance of two families, and the coming together of a community.

Weddings also signify exclusion.  Marriages were and still are elusive to many people.  In decades past, people of color (including Filipino Americans) were forbidden from marrying Whites in many states of this country.  The LGBTQ community was not able to partake in marriages legally until recently (and even its legality is on shaky ground at this day and age).  Weddings (at least extravagant ones anyway) can exclude those without the means.

And yet, weddings continue to be prevalent in our communities.  They provide an opportunity to experience some cultural traditions.  Jumping the broom.  Riding a white horse.  Wearing something blue.  Many of these traditions are ways the married couple can share a part of themselves with people they love.

In this TFAL mini-episode, the crew discusses Filipino and Filipino American wedding traditions.  A mixture of Filipino, Spanish, and American traditions, many Filipino American weddings have a certain formula to them.  We talk about some of them and more!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Which Filipino or Filipino American wedding traditions do you know of?  Let us know by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail, (805) 394-TFAL (8325)!

Aug 02 2018
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Rank #7: Episode 3 – Filipino American Gangs in SoCal: Where are you from and where are you now?

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In this episode, we explore the history of Filipino American gangs in Southern California with Dave, a local expert on the subject. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 80’s and 90’s was a different time.  The political landscape was different and teen life was difficult for Filipino immigrants who were searching for protection, identity, or perhaps something to do.  How did Filipino American gangs form?  What was the lifestyle like?  Are they still around?  Dave takes us on a journey to answer these questions and much more. We hope you take a listen to get a glimpse of what it was like for those who grew up around what was most worrisome to Filipino American parents during those turbulent years.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

For some more background on Filipino/Asian gangs in Southern California, here are some news articles:

For a comprehensive study on Filipino American gangs, particularly Satanas (STS), read Bangele Alsaybar’s Ph.D. dissertation, “Youth Groups and Youth Savers: Gangs, Crews, and the Rise of Filipino American Youth Culture in Los Angeles,” as mentioned in the podcast.  (Available through Proquest.  If you don’t have access to Proquest, feel free to email us to see how you can get a copy). Alsaybar also published a portion of his study in Amerasia Journal, which can be accessed here.

Finally, here are links to two non-profit organizations that concerned community members established to curb gang violence in the Filipino community, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans in Los Angeles and United Playaz in San Francisco.

[Correction]

Elaine here. Color Your Troubles Away is on Thursday, July 28th. I had the wrong date when we recorded the podcast!

Jul 25 2016
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Rank #8: Episode 18 – Filipino WWII Veterans

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Images from the 2005 JFAV March in Historic Filipinotown (Photo Credits:  Producer Mike)

On November 11, 2017, Filipino American Veterans, students, and their allies will gather in Hollywood, CA for the 17th Annual Justice For Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) march.  In fact, for many years now, throughout the country, Filipino Americans have been organizing protests, actions, remembrances, and celebrations in honor of Filipinos who fought for the United States in World War II, many of whom never got the recognition or benefits they deserved and were promised.  Many of us here at TFAL have been a part of the Filipino Veterans movement in LA since the very first march, and continue to support local advocacy efforts to this day. But how can we best honor the sacrifices of our elders? What can we do now, with so many Veterans passing away each day?

In this episode, we dive into these issues and talk with both national and local leaders of the movement for justice and equity for Filipino Veterans of WWII.  Calling in all the way from Washington DC, Ben de Guzman of The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project shares his perspectives on the national movement, and Stephanie Sajor and Eddy M. Gana Jr. from KmB Pro-People Youth join us in the studio to talk about the upcoming JFAV March.

Listen, subscribe to and rate us on iTunes, learn, and join the discussion in the comments!  And you can email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.  Who knows, we just might share your thoughts on a future episode!

And check out this mini documentary from 2004 by our friends Michele Gutierrez and Christine Araquel:

Broken Promises Short Version from Science Friction on Vimeo.

Nov 07 2017
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Rank #9: Episode 8 – Did you eat yet?: A Conversation with Filipino Kitchen

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Nakakaon ka na ba?  Kumain na kayo?  Nangan kan?  Did you eat yet?

Ah yes…the question your parents/grandparents/family members ask you as you walk in the door.  Among Filipinos, it’s a more common way to say hello.

Food is perhaps the most innate thing that makes us human.  It keeps us alive.  It comforts us.  It identifies us.  It connects us.  And at times, it can even divide us.  Food is a window to our historical and contemporary lives like no other.

Filipino food is no exception. A large part of the Filipino American experience is the food we cook, serve, and eat.  Filipino food like kinilaw, chicken afritada, and Jollibee’s peach mango pie can tell us about our history – colonial or otherwise.  Our food also conveys the community’s struggles with health, cultural invisibility, and even mainstream desirability.

In this TFAL episode, we talk to Sarahlynn Pablo of Filipino Kitchen, a media based company which aims to support and promote the awareness of Filipino food here in the United States and throughout the diaspora.  We discuss a myriad of food-related topics: which Filipino dishes comfort us, which dishes we learned later in life, how Filipinos connect with their food heritage, what politics arise when advocates try to mainstream Filipino cuisine, and much more.

Although we barely scratch the surface of Filipino food in this episode, we hope you enjoy this scrumptious discussion.  Make sure to eat while listening or plan to eat afterwards because this episode will make you hungry!  Where’s my fork and spoon?  Fuck it…I’ll just use my hands!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly HERE, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Finally, check out our friends’ websites here:

Filipino Kitchen – http://filipino.kitchen/

Sarahlynn Pablo’s WordPress – https://sarahlynnpablo.wordpress.com/

And check out this YouTube web series, Market to Master, to get a glimpse of different kinds of foods from all over the Philippines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDisdSjO_Ro

Jan 20 2017
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Rank #10: Episode 20 – Pop Culture and Cultural Appropriation

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On this episode of This Filipino American Life, the crew talks about their experiences with pop culture before hashing things out with pop culture scholar and fellow Pop Rocket podcaster, Karen Tongson. Find out who in the crew loves Steven Universe, music, food, gambling, and sports. (Hint hint: it’s someone in the picture.) Also listen as we decipher how appropriation plays into pop culture.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

What is your pop culture wheelhouse? Let us know! Email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com, leave a voice message, or even text us your thoughts at (805) 394-TFAL.

Jan 18 2018
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Rank #11: Episode 13 – Filipinos and Gentrification

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Apparently, cities are back. People are moving back into the inner core of cities. Coffee shops, bars, and artisanal eateries are thriving in certain neighborhoods. Millennials are ditching their cars for public transportation. Politicians are touting the brand new economy of “hipster-dom” that is reviving cities nationwide.

But what do these changes mean for families who live in these inner city neighborhoods? What happens to the demographics of the city? How does it affect young folks who are looking for a place to live or trying to buy their first home? How do these economic shifts impact the diverse Filipino American community who live in both the inner core and outer suburbia?

In this TFAL episode, the crew speaks with Jennifer Ganata, a housing advocate and community activist in Los Angeles, to discuss the economics of gentrification and how it affects Filipinos in Southern California and throughout the country. Whether you live in neighborhood likes SoMa Pilipinas, Beacon Hill, or Woodside or suburban areas like Rancho Bernardo, Bergenfield, or Skokie, gentrification has a major impact on all of us.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Have you seen major demographic shifts in the place you grew up in or the place you live now? Do you have any opinions on gentrification? Let us know your thoughts on thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or (805) 394-TFAL.

Jun 05 2017
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Rank #12: Bonus Episode – TFAL talks Crazy Rich Asians

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On this bonus episode the TFAL crew talks about the recent phenomenon that is Crazy Rich Asians. The popular novel by Kevin Kwan debuted in 2013. The film premieres this month with high expectations. Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, and director Jon M. Chu grace the cover of Hollywood Reporter with the cover story The Stakes Are High for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ — And That’s the Point.

Constance Wu shared why this film is a monumental moment for Asian Americans. Crazy Rich Asians is the first blockbuster film with a predominantly Asian American cast in twenty years. Nico Santos is a part of the cast and Kris Aquino makes an appearance, but does this film have a larger impact on Filipino Americans? Is the story reflective of our own stories? Does it have to be?  We discuss these issues and more on this bonus episode.

#CrazyRichAsians opens August 15th. Read below to understand why it means so much to so many people. All love. @CrazyRichMovie @FreshOffABC @WarnerBrosEnt pic.twitter.com/IISLRDMRjU

— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) August 1, 2018

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

What are your thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians? Let us know by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail, (805) 394-TFAL (8325)!

Aug 09 2018
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Rank #13: Episode 19 – Filipino Martial Arts

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Kali, Arnis, and Eskrima, or sometimes known as “Filipino Martial Arts (FMA),” has been practiced both in the Philippines and in the United States for generations. A mix of native Southeast Asian and domesticated European fighting styles, Filipino Martial Arts has been known to be one of the most efficient and powerful fighting systems in the world. Through FMA, one can defend oneself using swords, sticks, knives, or even bare hands very effectively. However, while many flock to the Philippines and local studios to learn and train in the warrior art, FMA and its techniques are relatively unknown to a majority of Filipinos. Unfortunately, orientalized martial arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do remain more popular.

In this episode, we talk to Mike Makabenta from the Magda Institute. He gives us an overview of the warrior art, its origins in the Philippines, how it flowed to the United States, and how it became popularized (yet not branded) in Hollywood action films. He goes into the diversity in FMA, its many practitioners and fighting styles, how it got passed down from generation to generation, and the current state of the art in the U.S. in this digital age.

Come find out which one of us trains in FMA, who calls it Arnis and who calls it Eskrima, and who has broken boards in a dojo. (But please don’t mind the plethora of Karate Kid references!). Whether it’s the first time you’ve heard about Filipino Martial Arts or you’ve been practicing the warrior art for decades, this introduction to FMA will help jump start a conversation about an art we can truly call our own.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Got an questions or opinion about Filipino Martial Arts?  Let us know! Email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.

Dec 18 2017
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Rank #14: Episode 23 – Filipino Healing Traditions w/ Herbalaria

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If you grew up in a Filipino household, it’s possible that you’ve had experiences with natural medicines or remedies —  from your parents use of the aloe vera plant on a burn to the use of tawas as underarm deodorant.

For TFAL co-host Ryan, he would have never known the healing effects of ginger root had his dad not ground some up, created some paste with it, spread it on his sprained ankle, and wrapped it up with cloth as he recited a little prayer.  Although the use ginger root or other herbs and plants are very effective, it is sometimes looked upon as too simple or inadequate in the eyes of Western/modern medicine practitioners. Who knows what Western medicine’s comment would be regarding that prayer?!

In reality, Filipino traditional healing is extremely complex.  Although it can sometimes be as simple as using ginger in your tea, Filipino healing traditions encompass faith, intentionality, and connectivity to nature, which all have their own specific guidelines and processes.  We all have a connection to our parents and nature, but are we aware enough to know how to channel it or know its power?

On this episode of This Filipino American Life, we discuss Filipino healing traditions with Lyn Pacificar, an albularya or traditional folk herbalist/spiritual healer, and her partner Gilbert.  Lyn comes from a long line of Filipino healers and mystics.  Her dad, a hilot from the islands of Leyte and Samar in the Philippines, while her mom hails from the Islands of Mindanao, Panay, and Bohol–all within the Western Visayan region of the Philippines.  Lyn uses a combination of modalities including prayers, ritual, diagnostic readings, and ancestral communication to achieve a certain goal for the recipient.  Throughout our discussion Lyn explains her vocation and speaks to the power of our own pre-colonial methods of healing.

Join the TFAL crew as we explore our own experiences with natural healing we learned from our families.  We share our thoughts on Western medicine, talk about the healing effects of different natural plants and herbs, and discuss how our pre-colonial healing traditions meld with our Catholic faith.  Her inspiring life’s work sets out to re-invigorate people to unearth those hidden memories within our souls, reminding us how we truly lived in harmony with Mother Earth.  Have a listen.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Did you grow up or do you practice Filipino healing traditions?  Feel free to email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com, leave us a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL, or write us a comment below!

Finally, check out Lyn Pacificar and her awesome products on her website!

Apr 18 2018
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Rank #15: Episode 22.5 – Filipino and Filipino American Slang

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Naks naman, pre!

Everyday, we hear a new term or phrase or acronym that we totes have to google. With the ever evolving ways of communicating, we can expect some of our words and phrases to be shortened and even more so, turn into widely-used slang.

Slang has multiple uses.  It can be used for inclusion.  People use slang to create and reinforce a people’s identity through a shared network of communication. On the other side of the coin, slang can be used for exclusion as well, essentially demarcating who’s in the know and who isn’t.  Slang can also be a way to rebel.  Many people use slang as coded or hidden words to conceal meanings from those in authority.  The use of slang among Filipinos and Filipino Americans is no different  We have used slang to include, exclude, and rebel in many forms.

On this TFAL mini episode, we discuss Filipino and Filipino American slang.  We explore Filipino “tadbalik,” the practice of inverting and reversing letters and syllables of words to give them new meanings, which is believed to have developed among Filipinos rebelling against the Spanish in the 19th century. It also gained popularity anti-martial law youth in the 1970s.  Likewise, we discuss slang among Filipino Americans.  Though fewer in number, Fil Ams have developed a unique identity through slang as well.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

We only shared a few slang words, but do you know others??  If you want to share some Filipino or Filipino American slang that was hella popular where you grew up, feel free to email us or leave a comment below!

EDITOR’S NOTE: CON-ASS is Constituent Assembly, not Congressional Assembly. =)

Apr 05 2018
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Rank #16: Episode 9 – Love Life of An Asian Guy

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On this episode of This Filipino American Life, the TFAL crew talks about their experiences with blogging. Blogspot, Xanga, Livejournal and countless other internet sites were the home to our early 00s thoughts and terrible spoken word poetry.  In this new era of blogging, Facebook has become the home of writing down these thoughts. One blogger in particular, Ranier Maningding of The Love Life of an Asian Guy, uses his platform that originally was a place to blog about his experience dating as an Asian American to commentary on race, politics, and pop culture. Listen to how he transitioned from dating to his commentary while growing his audience to close to 200,000 folks!

Ranier is also venturing into podcasting! Here is the teaser for “The Love Life of an Asian Guy” podcast.  You can check it out HERE.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Are you on tumblr or wordpress? What are you writing about? Is Instagram your thing? What are you taking pictures of? Let us know what your experience blogging was like! Tweet at us (@TFALpodcast), comment on Facebook (This Filipino American Life), leave a comment on this post, or leave us a message on our voicemail! 805-394-TFAL. That’s 805-394-8325.

Feb 21 2017
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Rank #17: Episode 76 (33) – When Filipino Pride Goes Wrong…

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Most of us have some ounce of Filipino pride.  “Successes” by other Filipinos such as Bruno Mars, Jordan Clarkson, and Catriona Gray become “successes” for us.  Because Filipinos are constantly rendered invisible in the Western world, we tend to internalize these victories as our own.  But what happens when fellow Filipinos do something “embarrassing”?  Countless incidents in our past – Pacquiao’s anti-LGBT comments, Filipino divers, the 1992 Philippine Little League Team, Marcos, Duterte, etc. – have cause an unwanted spotlight on us.

In this TFAL episode, we discuss those moments that make Filipinos and Filipino Americans feel “not so proud.”  How do we feel about it? How do we handle it?  Does our pride remain incognito, then emerge when something goes right?  Are we simply out for global recognition rather than internal legitimation?  What does this tell us about “Filipino Pride” (nationalism) in the diaspora at its root?  Why is representing an entire Filipino nation our cross to bear?  We explore some of these questions and more in this latest episode.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

What do you do when Filipinos are viewed in an infamous light?  Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Feb 20 2019
36 mins
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Rank #18: Episode 13.5 – The Manny Pacquiao Era

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For about a decade, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao captured the hearts of millions of Americans and people throughout the world. He became a household name for even the casual American boxing fan because of his electrifying punches, religious humility, and off-tune singing. Even fans of his opponents loved the guy for his rags-to-riches story. Manny Pacquiao becoming synonymous with the Philippines. And for a brief moment, everyone knew what a Filipino was.

For Filipino Americans, he represented a hope of self-becoming in a society that deemed us “invisible.” Pacquiao sparked a sense of nationalist fervor rarely seen in a community prone to “assimilate.” Filipino Americans from all walks of life – radical, conservative, Catholic, Protestant, Californian, Midwesterner – succumbed to Pacquiao fever. In many ways, Pacquiao’s entry into American national discourse told us about ourselves and our place in this world as much as it told us about a poor skinny kid from General Santos City.

The TFAL Crew discusses Manny Pacquiao’s meteoric rise to stardom and his fateful downfall.  This episode is not so much an analysis of his boxing career, but rather an examination of his cultural impact on Filipino America. Nobody brought together Filipinos around the world as much as the Pacman. Love him or hate him, Manny Pacquiao is a significant part of our history.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Let us know your memories about Manny Pacquiao!  Email us at  thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or leave a voice message on (805) 394-TFAL.

Also, check out these awesome videos after you listen to the episode.

Jun 19 2017
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Rank #19: Episode 21.5 – Filipinos and Black Panther

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A recently article circulated social media after the release of the movie, Black Panther, detailing the connection between some of the costumes worn by the “Dora Milaje” — the all-female personal guard of the ruler of the fictional African country of Wakanda.  Anthony Francisco, a Pinoy member of the film’s design team, apparently based the costumes on indigenous clothing from non-Christianized tribes of the Philippines.

As many Filipino Americans do, we shared the article with our friends.  Living in the current American ethos of liberal multiculturalism, visibility, for better or for worse, becomes an aspiration for many marginalized communities.  Subjected to a long history of erasure, Filipino Americans beamed with pride as this fact about Black Panther costumes hit the internet.  Yet, when does this yearning for visibility go too far?

In this mini-episode, the TFAL crew discusses the recently discovered connection between Filipinos and Black Panther.  Listen as they debate the merits of this factoid about the movie’s costumes.  Are Filipinos over-reaching?  Is recognition from mainstream society necessary?  Are the arguments valid?  Or is Joe (surprise, surprise) just drinking haterade?

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

Any thoughts on this episode?  Email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com, leave a voice message, or even text us your thoughts at (805) 394-TFAL.

Mar 06 2018
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Rank #20: Episode 12.5 – Reflections on “My Family’s Slave” and Katulong Culture

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Most of us have read “My Family’s Slave” on the Atlantic, written by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Tizon.  The article saddened us, angered us, and confused us.  What’s to make of the story of Eudocia Pulido, aka Lola, who toiled her whole life against her will and without pay for a family that wasn’t her own?

There are many angles and layers to this gut-wrenching story.  On this episode, the TFAL crew gives you our thoughts and reflections on the article as well as “katulong culture” in general.  It’s a tough issue to wrap our heads around, and we only scratch the surface. Give it a listen and let us know what you think in the comments below or leave a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325).

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here!

For more opinions on this article, check out this compiled list of responses/reactions from TFAL listener Marnette Federis.  Also, for great insight on the Alex Tizon’s life, the history of enslavement culture in the Philippines, and the life of a trafficked Filipina woman in New York, listen to NPR’s Code Switch podcast episode on the story, featuring one of Joe’s grad school advisors, Professor Vicente Rafael.

Here are links to local organizations who are fighting for the rights of domestic workers and those who are victims of human trafficking:

Finally, a distant relative of Eudocia Pulido who is in contact with the Pulido family set up this gofundme page to help raise funds for their family in the Philippines. Please consider donating.
May 25 2017
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